Publish Novellas 29 August 2022
EPISODE 3 – CALL AGAIN
A diminutive technology story technician must distinguish reality from fantasy in the surprise ending to this short miniseries.
⚠️ Use Discretion: Mature situations.
Later at work, Christina‘s heart flutters as she catches sight of Brandon in the store. He appears to be waiting for service, but she is with another customer. Unable to finish in time, a different technician assists him. So Christina moves to the next customer in the queue while trying to keep an eye on Brandon.
His service is complete. After glancing at some accessories, he walks out the door. Christina may be reprimanded for her next action. Excusing herself from her customer, she runs after Brandon. In her mind, it’s like a slow-motion love scene. In reality, it causes quite a stir, as security guards suspect a theft.
Outdoors, she gently touches Brandon’s shoulder. He turns to face her as she catches her breath. During what seems like a pause of eternity, the anticipated embrace doesn’t materialize. Realizing the need to separate fantasies from reality, she blurts out much less than she wants to say.
“Hi. Remember, me?”
“Yes, of course. How could I forget? You helped me the first time I was here. How are you?”
“That’s right. I’m doing well. Still studying archeology.”
“Well, my new tablet’s working fine.”
“Good! If you ever need anything, give me a call.”
The dry conversation is not going as planned. It’s about to end with neither of them expressing admiration. Desperately wanting some of her fantasy to become true, Christina wipes perspiration from her forehead and stretches on her tiptoes.
She then kisses the man who is 12 years her senior on the cheek. During the subsequent pause of silent confusion, she recognizes her inappropriate breach between fantasy and reality.
As Christina slowly turns her head, that’s bowed in shame, Brandon responds, “Can we exchange phone numbers?”
“Really—? I mean yes, of course! I’ll be home—and promise not to disappoint you at 8 o’clock tonight.”
“Okay? Are you expecting me to show up at your place less than five hours from now?”
“Oh my. What did I just say? That didn’t come out right. I don’t normally move that fast. It sounds like I’m being too forward. I mean, it’s just a call, not a date, right? We sort of just met, so we aren’t dating. I’m sinking deeper, aren’t I? Do I sound too desperate?”
“Relax. Your flustered blushing is cute. Take a deep breath and start over.”
“Okay, let me rephrase that. If you want to video chat this evening, 8 o’clock gives me enough time to get home and freshen up; you know, so I’ll be presentable.”
“That’s a perfectly innocent request. We’ll chat at eight! And just do you know, being desperate is an appealing quality.“
Later, during the video chat, Christina is unable to shield her enthusiasm for fulfilling fantasies. So she inquires, “Well, you’re virtually in my apartment. Are you seeing anyone else? You know what I mean, are you single?”
“Sorry, not entirely. You and I sort of just met. It’s a little early for me to begin burning phone numbers.”
“Okay, so I gotta make it worthwhile. At the risk of sounding overzealous, if you’re satisfied with how things progress this evening, would I have less competition?”
“We’re still getting acquainted, but I did ask for your number, so yes. Is that important to hear on our first call?”
“It’s very important because I kissed you this afternoon. If our relationship hinges on tonight’s progress, I might share a treat with you.”
“I like treats. What do you have in mind?”
“You might convince me to show you my T-Rex impression. Be forewarned, it’s a huge request. In return, I’ll need a really good kiss from you the next time we meet, and at least a one month exclusive commitment.”
“That’s a high value for your skill. I have confidence in your ability as an archeologist. So, I’m willing to comply with the exchange to see this fantastic impression. You have my full attention.”
As Christina prepares to deliver the performance of a lifetime, it’s apparent that she isn’t chatting with anyone. The end goal is obvious, but but each fantasy arrives there differently. Feeling well-rehearsed and determined to put an end to her recurring unfulfillment, she dials Brandon—for real.
Escalating desire emboldens her to make the most direct proposition.
“Hi Brandon. This is Christina from the computer store. But this is a personal call. Are you busy this evening?”
“Hi Christina. What a pleasant surprise. You’re the one studying archeology, right?”
“That’s correct. I’m risking my career and reputation by being so assertive. So much is on the line that if you decline, sheer embarrassment may prevent another opportunity. I’m texting you my address now. Can you get over here right away?”
“Got it. Mapping directions—it says you’re 28 minutes away.”
“All right I’m putting on my shoes and walking out the door!”
He rings the doorbell just under 40 minutes later. Christina, wearing a robe, ushers him in. “Thanks for coming. You no doubt have questions.”
“Yes, I’m here. But I don’t really know what’s going on. Perhaps my first question is…”
She interrupts, assuming she knows what interests him. “My roar is the reason I chose to study archeology. It’s not an animal impression. That’s my natural reaction to pleasure. The first time I discovered it, I thought I was alone in the bedroom of my parent’s house. But my father was in the hallway. An embarrassing conversation followed. We became a lot closer afterwards.”
“That was very likely too much information. What roar?”
“Oh, am I getting things out of sequence? Stand here quickly. Press your body next to mine.”
“Okay. This is awkward.”
“Shhsush. Listen. Press harder. Don’t let go. Here it comes…. Roaarr!”
“Well, um. Thanks for that, I think. Not bizarre at all. No, really, very bizarre! Look, you’re a sexy, quirky, passionate person that puzzles me.”
“By puzzle, do you mean scare? I don’t want to be a mystery to you. Ask me any questions—no matter how personal. Convince yourself that I’m a great catch worthy of marriage.”
“first question. Are you taking any psychiatric medication?”
“Is that why you hurried here—to take advantage of the crazy girl? Perhaps gaslight me tomorrow? Is that the plan?”
“Not at all. Look, perhaps I should go.”
“Wait! I’m sorry. It’s a valid question. I invite a stranger to my apartment, offer him my body, make sounds like a dinosaur, and expect him to marry me. No, I’m not on any medication. Next question.”
“Do you have obsessive tendencies?”
“Of course! Everyone does. But I’m not some kind of stalker. I love you.”
“Is there any reason I should be worried about my safety while here alone with you?”
“That’s just great. I express my affection and you think I’m a serial killer. Do you want to look under my pillow for a butcher’s cleaver? This evening can’t get much worst than that. To prove I’m not dangerous, open my robe. Go ahead. You know you’re curious.”
“Oh, that’s…. definitely not dangerous. This… I love… Christina! Roaarr!”
“Wait, did you just steal my roar? Brandon, open your eyes. Say something!”
Brandon awakens and finds himself alone, at home for the third time. Determined to end his fantasies, he plans to visit the computer store the next day.
When his eyes meet Christina‘s in the store, there’s an instant connection. Both have been fantasizing about this moment. They exchange phone numbers and plan a date to see a blockbuster dinosaur movie.
Over the next few months they enjoy dinners, lunches, and outdoor activities as they unearth compatible aspects of their personalities. With great anticipation, things progress. But the T-Rex roar turns out to be more like a Shuvuuia chirp.